I may get worried when the Braves have trouble scoring runs without homers. But gosh, it’s fun when they hit them. Sheffield gave them an early lead with a first-inning solo homer, Giles a two-run in the third, and Andruw and Javy back-to-back in the eighth. The Braves scored only one run without a homer, but they didn’t need many.
Mark DeRosa played short tonight and led off, and Darren Bragg played left and hit eighth. I’m not sure why Furcal needed the day off, but it does seem that he, rather than Giles, will be the man who sits when Bobby wants to give DeRosa a start. Chipper has been slumping a little (.263/.333/.368 in August) and apparently wanted the time off. Hey, you’ve got a big lead, why not? Bragg was useless, but DeRosa had two hits and an RBI.
Russ Ortiz pitched eight-plus innings, seven of which were just fine. He got into trouble with his control in the fourth, walking two men who both scored. For the rest of the game, he was effective, though he again needed a lot of pitches (119, 72 strikes). Gryboski pitched the ninth but was unable to whittle down the lead into a save situation. Okay, I’ll be fair, he needed only six pitches, all of them strikes, to retire three men, including a strikeout. That’s pretty impressive, but he’s still Kevin Gryboski.
The Braves could be 13 games up tomorrow, with the Phillies playing the Giants and losing early. A loss would drop the Phils into a tie with the Marlins in the wildcard race.